Afternoon Coffee: Manufacturing up for November; Boeing crisis may ripple; Trump trade-deal timing

The end of the GM strike gave U.S. manufacturing numbers for November a boost, helping exceed expectations for only modest growth for the month, CNBC reports:

“The Federal Reserve said on Tuesday that manufacturing production rose 1.1% last month after a downwardly revised 0.7% fall in October. Industrial output also rose 1.1% in November after a downwardly revised drop of 0.9% in October.

“Excluding motor vehicles and parts, overall industrial production and manufacturing output in November rose 0.5% and 0.3% respectively.

“Economists polled by Reuters had forecast overall manufacturing output would rise 0.7% and industrial output would increase 0.8% in November.”

Boeing to suspend 737 MAX production

Boeing announced that it will suspend the production of its controversial Boeing 737 MAX in January.

“With the company still unable to win approval from global regulators to let the plane fly again, executives and board members have made, in halting production, one of the most consequential decisions in the manufacturer’s history, one that will also affect its hundreds of suppliers around the country,” The New York Times reports.

The Wall Street Journal reports that GE will likely take a financial hit over Boeing’s problems with the 737 MAX.

Also, Reuters reports that Southwest Airlines said it was extending cancellations of the 737 MAX flights by another five weeks, through April 13, due to the continued uncertainty around the timing of the aircraft’s return to service.

Trump trade-deal timing

The Wall Street Journal explores President Donald Trump’s trade policies and how developments happened on three fronts last week: U.S.-China trade, the USMCA clearing hurdles to replace NAFTA, and the administration’s tactics against the WTO.

“Combined, the efforts show an approach toward U.S. trading partners and multinationals that is focused more on pressuring companies to produce domestically and sell American-made goods abroad than on helping them expand their global manufacturing footprint,” the WSJ reports.

In an article from our sister site MetalMiner, the timing of the trade deals also is explored, citing the election next year as a catalyst for the deals. Don Hauser, a MetalMiner commercial team member and former steel buyer for John Deere, also said supply chains that reshaped themselves during the tariffs and trade war likely won’t move back to their old form.

“With the implementation of tariffs, companies developed alternative sources,” Hauser said. “Some of those sources have proved better than previous options and some less so. Trade between the U.S. and China will return, but not to pre-tariff levels. Any new, efficient supply chains will remain in place.”

Alithya acquires U.S. healthcare group Travercent

Digital tech company Alithya Group Inc. has announced the acquisition of aa U.S.- based cloud consulting group specializing in healthcare, Travercent LLC.

Travercent's competencies include implementing Oracle's cloud ERP, HCM, EPM and BI applications.

Paul Raymond, President and CEO of Alithya, said, "The firm's expertise with Oracle cloud technologies in the U.S. healthcare sector is of particular strategic significance to us, given the importance of this technology and this business sector.”

Content procurement platform launching

Content production marketplace StudioNow will launch Octerra, a standalone marketing procurement SaaS platform for producing content marketing.

Run by former StudioNow President and COO David Corts, Octerra is a software platform that provides a transparent bidding process for brands, agencies and vendors related to content procurement.

“We use our software to give them visibility,” Corts tells Hypepotamus. “That process of the agency bidding to companies has been offline forever, meaning there’s no data capture on where that money is going, or a fair and transparent process.”

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